Measuring the FIs' use of Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube, as well as their website-social media integration, the researchers determined that the banks averaged 43 out of a possible 100 points. Assentinum.com also observed that clients across the globe want greater transparency and educational content from their banks. The demand is there, yet financial professionals and institutions have continued to ignore it.
Financial services firms that fail to engage with existing and prospective clients on social networks may be missing out on vital opportunities to build client capital and establish deeper relationships. These websites can also prove useful in the sales stage of the buying cycle, when you are researching prospects' businesses, values and goals in order to devise a solution that will help them. Social media can make your sales, marketing and client relationship management responsibilities more efficient and bring your firm into the 21st century.
"Especially for renowned banks with a demanding clientele, it is increasingly important to be present in the virtual social network," the company notes. A survey of American and Canadian investors from Cogent Research® found that more than 5 million investors with more than $100,000 investable assets use social media platforms when researching and making financial decisions. Financial Planning reports that the study determined that of this group, almost 75% identified LinkedIn as the social media platform they use the most for investment research—more than twice the number who are using Facebook, Google+ and Twitter combined.
There is no reason to shy away from social media. Although it may seem complex in theory, the regulatory issues associated with the channel can be avoided if you carefully plan your social marketing strategy. Before setting up blogs and profiles, take time to identify the goals you have for marketing and promoting your practice and yourself.
Are you joining these networks simply to spread awareness of your brand, or do you genuinely want to create more meaningful connections with the public, prospects and clients? How do you currently use social media for business purposes? What do you hope to gain by expanding your online presence?
Sidestepping social media and keeping it out of your marketing mix is no longer an option. Increasingly, high net worth individuals, as well as the general population, are joining the networks and using digital communication tools to stay in touch with their business associates.
Shauna Trainor is The Covenant Group's Marketing Manager. She focuses on The Covenant Group's own marketing strategy and also helps entrepreneurs through financial advisor training to leverage social media and other technology to spread the word about their services and practices and build relationships.